Bail almost doubled for ex-priest and association director arrested for sex crimes

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His original $ 75,000 bond was increased Monday to $ 138,000 after he booked a new reservation Friday for 26 counts relating to possession and use of prescription drugs.

NEW ORLEANS – The bond was increased Monday for former priest and nonprofit director Stephen Sauer after he was re-booked last week on 26 new charges related to possession and to the use of prescription drugs which prosecutors say were used to knock out his victims of sexual assault and voyeurism.

Sauer, 59, was arrested after a search of his Metairie home last week and sentenced to five counts of video voyeurism and one count of sexual assault. His original $ 75,000 bond was increased Monday to $ 138,000 after he booked a new reservation Friday for 26 counts relating to possession and use of prescription drugs.

Detectives at Jefferson Parish also added an additional count of video voyeurism, including a sixth victim out of the total of men they say were photographed in sexual poses without their consent.

Upon his arrest last week, Sauer was immediately fired from his post as director of ARC-GNO, a nonprofit that helps people with intellectual disabilities, including its popular program for sorting and selling recycled pearls. of Mardi Gras.

At Sauer’s bail hearing on Monday, prosecutor Kellie Rish said the drugs were found in a cigar box during a second search of Sauer’s home. Police allege Sauer used the drugs to incapacitate his victims, aged 21 to 48.

Rish said the victims told detectives they did not consent to be photographed unconscious while being sexually compromised.

Medications found in Sauer’s home included gabapentin, an anti-seizure drug and the antidepressant Trazadone, Rish said. Detectives also found syringes, pill cutters, droppers and plastic bags, she said.

Veteran criminal defense attorney Gary Wainwright said charges involving prescription drugs can be difficult to prove in court.

“They (Jefferson Parish officials) assume he gave someone drugs,” said Wainwright, who has no connection to the case. “These things are very difficult with a historical case where you cannot do a blood test.”

But Wainwright said the video voyeurism law is clearer and can be used any time authorities can prove that photos or videos of a sexual nature were taken without consent.

“Even if you have consensual kinky sex, it’s illegal to take photos without the person’s explicit consent,” Wainwright said. “And even if you take these photos for the benefit of both of you, there is a crime if you share them with someone else.”

Rish also revealed that the photos were discovered after Sauer sent a hard drive to New York City for repair. Authorities reportedly found hundreds of sexual images there.

“You can’t meet a person like me if you haven’t made at least one stupid decision,” Wainwright said. “And sending a hard drive like this to someone to look at would certainly be considered a very stupid decision.”

It all came as a shock to those who knew Sauer as a nonprofit administrator and, until his resignation last year, a Jesuit priest who once pastored at Immaculate Conception Church downtown. of New Orleans.

“A person can accomplish a lot of very meaningful things for others and be caring and compassionate in their public life,” said Wainwright. “But who really knows what’s going on behind closed doors.”

Sauer’s attorney, Michael Ciaccio, did not respond to calls for comment.


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